Watch NBF Presents: A New American Curriculum

National Book Award–honored authors Erica Armstrong Dunbar (Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge, Finalist, Nonfiction), Jason Reynolds (Ghost, Finalist, Young People’s Literature; Long Way Down, Longlist, Young People’s Literature; and Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks, Finalist, Young People’s Literature), and Tracy K. Smith (Ordinary Light, Finalist, Nonfiction) are invested in the next generation of readers and thinkers. Together, they discuss what a new curriculum can and should look like while the American school system faces ever-increasing challenges of equity and access.

Moderated by Mahogany L. Browne, author, Executive Director of Bowery Poetry Club, and Artistic Director at Urban Word NYC.

NBF Presents is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

To view a replay of the live chat, please tune in to the conversation directly on the Foundation’s YouTube Channel.

National Book Foundation Provides Update on Leadership Transition

Following her departure at the end of 2020, Lisa Lucas will become a member of the NBF Board of Directors and Deputy Director Jordan Smith will serve as Interim Executive Director

Following the announcement earlier this year that Lisa Lucas will be stepping down from her role as Executive Director of the National Book Foundation to become Senior Vice President & Publisher of Pantheon and Schocken Books, today the Foundation is sharing the news that Lucas will be joining the Foundation’s Board of Directors, and that Jordan Smith, current Deputy Director, will serve as Interim Executive Director of the Foundation, effective December 18.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to announce these appointments,” said David Steinberger, Chair of the Board of Directors. “Until we complete the formal search process to permanently fill the Executive Director position, we are very fortunate to have such an experienced and proven leader in Deputy Director Jordan Smith, and, of course, we are thrilled to welcome Lisa Lucas in her new capacity as a member of the Foundation’s Board.”

“Having worked alongside Jordan for many, many years, I have complete faith in her ability to ensure that the Foundation’s programs and activities continue to run as smoothly as they are now,” said Lisa Lucas, outgoing Executive Director. “I look forward to seeing all the great work that is to come, and for the opportunity to participate in this next chapter as a member of the Board of Directors.”

“I am grateful to have worked closely with Lisa Lucas and the Board of Directors for the past five years, and to have gained firsthand experience overseeing the Foundation, and maximizing the reach and impact of the work we do,” said Jordan Smith, incoming Interim Executive Director. “I am excited to help shepherd the Foundation during this important transition, and I’m especially pleased to have Lisa’s continued input and connection to our work as part of our Board.”

Smith joined the National Book Foundation in 2016 as Director of Education, and was promoted to Deputy Director in 2019. Prior to her work at the Foundation, Smith spent five years at Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI), where she served as Director of Education. In addition to her work at MoMI, she has worked as an educator and administrator at museums and arts organizations across New York City including the American Folk Art Museum, Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Museum of Modern Art, and Tribeca Film Institute. She holds a BA from Smith College and an MA from New York University.

During her tenure at the Foundation, Smith has been instrumental in growing and expanding programmatic activities, supporting key fundraising initiatives, serving as a supervisor for programs staff and contractual teaching staff, and developing systems around program implementation and tracking that have allowed for more impactful programming, and for the Foundation’s reach to be even greater. One of Smith’s most notable contributions was the design, launch, and oversight of Book Rich Environments, a collaboration with the United States Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, the Urban Libraries Council, and the National Center for Families Learning, which over the past four years has distributed 1.4 million books to young people and families in public housing communities across the country.

Watch Literature for Justice: A Path Forward

The National Book Foundation launches the third and final year of Literature for Justice, a nationwide, book-based campaign that presents an annual reading list to further investigate the carceral system and urge readers forward. The event will feature this year’s committee members Susan Burton, Natalie Diaz, Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Mariame Kaba, and Piper Kerman and selected authors—Dionne Brand (Ossuaries), Nicole R. Fleetwood (Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration), Ruth Wilson Gilmore (Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis and Opposition in Globalizing California), Sarah Haley (No Mercy Here: Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow Modernity), Kelly Lytle Hernández (City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, 1771-1965), and Albert Woodfox (Solitary). Moderated by Naomi Murakawa, author of The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America.

Presented in partnership with Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop and Public Welfare Foundation.

Literature for Justice is supported by the Art for Justice Fund, a sponsored project of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, in partnership with the Ford Foundation.

To participate in the live chat and submit questions for the Q&A with the authors, please tune in to the conversation directly on YouTube Live.